In these three plays, Federico García Lorca’s acknowledged masterpieces, he searched for a contemporary mode of tragedy and reminded his audience that dramatic poetry—or poetic drama—depends less on formal convention that on an elemental, radical outlook on human life. His images are beautiful and exact, but until now no translator had ever been able to make his characters speak unaffectedly on the American stage. Michael Dewell of the National Repertory Theatre and Carmen Zapata of the Bilingual Foundation of the Arts have created these versions expressly for the stage. The results, both performable and readable, have been thoroughly revised for this edition, which has an introduction by Christopher Maurer, the general editor of the Complete Poetical Works of García Lorca.
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Federico García Lorca was born in 1898 in Fuente Vaqueros, a few miles outside Granada in the province of Andalusia, southern Spain. From an early age he was fascinated by Spain's mixed heritage, adapting its ancient folk songs, ballads, lullabies, and flamenco music into poems and plays. By the age of thirty, he had published five books of poems, culminating in 1928 with Gypsy Ballads, which brought him far-reaching fame. In 1929-30 he studied in New York City, where he wrote the poems—among his most socially engaging and compelling—that were to be published posthumously as Poet in New York. Upon returning to Spain he devoted much of his attention to theater, "the poetry which rises from the page . . . and becomes human." In 1936, at the outset of the Spanish Civil War, he was shot to death by anti-Republican rebels in Franco's army, and his books were banned and destroyed.Christopher Maurer, the editor of García Lorca's Selected Verse, Poet in New York, and other works, is the author of numerous books and articles on Spanish poetry. He is head of the Department of Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese at the University of Illinois in ChicagoMichael Dewell, a graduate of Yale University and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, was until his death in 1994 the president of the National Repertory Theatre Foundation, for which he produced a wide range of works, from Euripides to Arthur Miller. NRT has toured the United States, played on Broadway, and won many awards, including a special Tony for distinguished contribution to the American theater. Dewell also wrote many articles on theater.Carmen Zapata is president of the Bilingual Foundation of the Arts, a Hispanic-American theater in Los Angeles, which has played on tour throughout the United States and at theater festivals in Colombia, Spain, and Mexico. She has produced more than sixty plays for BFA, in English and in Spanish. Most widely known as a leading actress in American films and television, she was knighted by King Juan Carlos of Spain in 1990 and received California's Governor's Award for Achievement in the Arts in 1991.
Federico García Lorca